The True Cost of Oil Shale An informative slide show by: Larson Quick
Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to inform you, the viewer, of the issues associated with oil shale development in North-Eastern Utah, near Vernal.
What is Oil Shale? Oil shale is a sedimentary rock that contains Kerogen, a non-conventional fossil fuel.
Why is Oil Shale important?
Oil shale is important because of its potential to become a large energy source. Oil shale contains Kerogen, and Kerogen can be converted into conventional fuel. Many companies want to mine and refine oil shale in order to obtain the Kerogen that can be used to make gasoline.
Oil shale is also important because mining, refining and using it will affect everyone who lives in the U.S., especially Utahans’. Oil shale development will affect Utahans in the following ways:
It uses large amounts of water.
It is a poor energy return on investment.
It would destroy natural lands, perhaps make more damns necessary in order to fill water needs.
It is not a clean burning fuel. Using it will greatly contribute to global warming.
Water In order to extract the Kerogen from the Oil Shale, refiners need to use large amount of water. The hot water helps separate the Kerogen from the rock. Water would also be needed for all the new workers i.e. bathrooms, showers, drinking and cooking. As well as for the initial energy used to mine the oil shale (the energy would likely come from coal power-plants). Utah is a desert, and our water system is already heavily stressed from our needs and the needs of our neighbors. Using water to refine oil shale would be a poor choice. In the end it come down to choosing between oil or water.
Poor Return on Investment “Per ton oil shale has about the same energy content as a baked potato.” (Glick) 2000 pounds of oil shale = It is clear that the energy contained in oil shale is not worth the amount of resources required to obtain, refine and use it.
Affect on Wilderness Mining will take its toll on the wilderness areas around Vernal, Utah. A prime example of what mining for oil shale can do to a natural environment is the current state of the Alberta, Canada tar sands development. Before Vs. After
As mentioned before, a lot of water will be needed to create a successful oil shale industry. How do we get more water? The answer is in more large and unsightly dams.
Greenhouse Gases Refining oil shale will produce one and a half times the emissions as conventional oil. This is because of the low quality of the oil shale in Utah. Other factors that contribute to the greenhouse gas output is transportation of fuel, refinement, use and upgrading.
Oil Shale and You! It is clear that oil shale is not a responsible energy source. The negative affects it would have on the future are obvious. Remember the facts and don’t support oil shale development. The future earth is in our hands, lets do something to protect it.
Works Cited: Bartis, James. "Gauging the Prospects of a U.S. Oil Shale Industry." www.rand.org. Rand Corporation, n.d. Web. 29 Sep 2010. Brown, Elise. "Utah's Renewable Energy Zone Task Force." geology.utah.gov/sep/renewable_energy. Utah Renewable Energy Zone, n.d. Web. 22 Sep 2010. Glick, Dan. "Fossil Foolishness." www.westernresearchadvocates.org. Western Research Advocates, n.d. Web. 22 Sep 2010. Horsley, Scott. "Squeezing Oil Out of Stones in the Rocky Mountains." www.npr.org. Nation Public Radio, 23 May 2006. Web. 21 Sep 2010.